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“I Gave It Up”

Taking a different look at fasting during Lent

“I can’t have that, I gave it up.” These are the words heard at least once if not more during ones Lenten journey.While fasting comes in different forms and “giving up” our favorite foods or luxuries are always beneficial, I chose to take on a different perspective for Lent this year. Instead of making this Lent about myself and what I wanted to give up, my group of friends and I came together and chose to make this Lent about each other. Each one of us chose a different name and were responsible for keeping that person in our prayers the entire Lent, whether it included praying a specific novena for that person or attending a weekly mass, the focus became someone else, rather than ourselves.

“That others may be loved more than I; That others may be esteemed more than I; That others may be chosen and I set aside; Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.” Through these words, we are able to set aside our own wants and needs and focus on those of our neighbor. When reflecting on your own personal Lenten journey and with Easter almost upon us, recite these words and allow them to guide you. When choosing to humble ourselves, we begin to encounter all the graces God has bestowed upon us and through this are able to prepare for the ultimate act of humility and sacrifice, Christ’s emptying of himself through his death on the cross.

By choosing to make this Lent about my neighbor  and focusing on their desires currently, the virtues of love and temperance have been showcased, while the sins of jealousy, hate, and anger have been greatly avoided. As this Lenten journey comes to an end, I encourage us to take the focus away from what we “gave” up and rather what can we give. What can I give to my loved ones? Can it be an additional prayer each day, an extra rosary throughout the week, or maybe a visit to adoration? Whatever it may be, let us welcome Christ by exemplifying humility in our daily thoughts and actions.